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Replace or ride on a plugged tyre

Started by TigerKing, January 11, 2023, 04:45:07 PM

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Recently a vicious thorn punctured my front tyre which had only travelled coming up to 2000 miles.  I pulled the offending wood out and plugged the tyre (my first ever puncture repair :) and took her out for a spin, the tyre pressure didn't budge and I marvelled at my prowess :)
But, I immediately ordered a replacement tyre (at quite a few quid) and booked it in along with a couple of other things that needed doing at the dealer's for next Thursday (Jan 19th).
Last night I went to a club meeting, they had a motorcycle tour company talking about all things tour wise and the chap mentioned he once got a puncture on a long trip which he plugged and then proceeded to ride the tyre back not only back home (about 1500 miles) but continued to ride it plugged until the tread depth warranted a new tyre.
Whats is the general accepted wisdom on this forum, replace immediately, or ride on regardless.
Life is short !


I've had a front tyre plugged on my Blackbird & replaced it fairly soon after, but that was more the nature of the bike, rather than anything else & I did tend to ride a little more aggressively than I do now.

I think I'd probably just plug & go on the Tiger 955i. The 800 is a little different as it has tubes  :icon_biggrin:

I believe a fair few places will plug a tyre depending on how close to the edge of the tyre the hole is, but I'm not certain.
No matter how smart you are you can never convince someone stupid that they are stupid.


We're talking tubeless tyres I'm presuming.

I regard my roadside repairs as temporary but will have a close look at it and do or have done by a professional, internal correctly fitted and vulcanised plug repair with balancing before I think about replacing it. The remaining wear and potential useage has to be taken into account when weighing repair up against buying a new casing.

As far as safety is concerned, a correctly plugged casing is legal, if it wasn't considered so, it wouldn't be legal. That said, you have to judge for yourself how you use your bike, prolonged use at higher speed and fully loaded will push a tyre more than a cross country jaunt with overnight gear. Have a look at what the tyre rating is and what that means, then be honest with yourself and make an informed decision.

Putting a plug, and getting a strong (that's the important bit) and leak free repair is always going to be more challenging with bike tyres due to the tread/casing shape compared to a car. Your standard blue suited tyre "fitter" may not be a biker and may not understand the differences compared to cars and the implications, regardless of what that framed piece of paper on the wall says. For me, choosing an experienced repairer is the most important part of the decision equation
I used to have long hair, took acid and went to hip joints. Now I long for hair, take antacid and need a new hip joint


Thanks for your thoughts gents, very helpful and good points I hadn't thought of.

I've found this an interesting experience really, information gathering from other trusted sources tells me there are definitely two strong camps of opinion on this.

My plug is just off-centre so no side-wall concerns, I'm not an aggressive rider, hadn't thought about having it professionally plugged and I know that tyre has at least another 5-7k left in it.

So, taking everything in to account, I think I'm going to have the tyre replaced next week as planned but I'll ask to keep the old one and find somewhere to have it professionally plugged so I can keep it as spare.

Thanks again for your help on this.
Life is short !


No matter how smart you are you can never convince someone stupid that they are stupid.


Safest to replace however my current rear michelin has at least 5k miles on it since I plugged it following a puncture  :icon_redface:

I ususally get the tyre shop to replace my plugs with professional ones (they will only do max 2 in any tyre) and havent had any problems with any of them (I have picked up quite a few punctures over the years)
05 Tiger Lucifer Orange (resting) 07 GSX-R1000TT K7 71 Triumph T25T 17 Tiger 1050 Sport


Thanks for the input and good info chaps.

The outcome of all this was that, I had a week and a bit before going to the dealer, so I monitored the pressure and found the tyre was losing a couple of psi every couple of days. This may have been my plug but it may also have been another puncture or the fact the tyre had actually been in need of a small air top up 3 or 4 times in its short life (just under 2k miles) or around 1 a month.
So, I decided on the day it was probably best to say goodbye to that one, plus leaving it with the dealer saved me the aggro of somehow carrying it on the 2 hour ride home.

Thanks for your inputs, I've learnt a lot from this and your experiences.

Life is short !

Nick Calne

It would easier if you moved nearer the dealer given the number of times you have made that trip.
Is it really an adventure bike if its wheels never see dirt?


The general consensus among motorcyclists is that a punctured tire should be replaced as soon as possible for safety reasons. Riding on a punctured tire can be dangerous, as it can cause further damage to the tire, increase the risk of a blowout, and negatively affect the handling and stability of the motorcycle.

However, if you find yourself in a situation where you need to temporarily continue riding on a punctured tire, it's recommended to keep the speed low, avoid sharp turns and sudden braking, and have the tire inspected and replaced as soon as possible.

In the case of the tour company speaker you mentioned, it's important to keep in mind that everyone's level of comfort and tolerance for risk is different. While it may have been acceptable for him to continue riding on a punctured tire for a certain period of time, it may not be the safest or recommended course of action for others.

In general, it's always better to err on the side of caution and have the tire replaced as soon as possible, especially if you plan on using your motorcycle for long trips or extended periods of time.


Excellent advice Ozzey, thanks for the clarity of thought and I totally am onboard with that line of thinking now.

Nick, its certainly a pain when the temperature is around zero degrees on a dark winter's morning when I have to be there for 0900 but, its great excuse for a ride out and only last week they gave me a loaner for the 4.5 hours whilst the Rocket was being MOT'd and serviced, so I went over to Minehead for lunch, a good day's ride out.  And as a bonus the loaner was a Street Twin and I absolutely loved it, perfect for the lanes and A roads around there.  It made the Rocket feel a little cumbersome on the way home, but hey, the Street Twin is a great little bike.
Life is short !